Good Friday. - As usual, I went to the hospital, and found Miss T[ompkins] in much trouble. A peremptory order has been given by the Surgeon-General to remove all patients. In the opinion of our surgeon, to five of them it would be certain death. The ambulances were at the door. Miss T. and myself decided to go at once to the Medical Director and ask him to recall the order. We were conducted to his office, and, for the first time since the entrance of the Federal army, were impolitely treated. On two occasions we had been obliged to make application to officials, and had been received with great respect and consideration, and we believe it has been uniformly the case; and we were, therefore, very much surprised when a request which seemed to us so reasonable was at first refused most decidedly. We could not give up our application, as it seemed to be a matter of life and death; so we told him what our surgeon had said, and that we hoped he would reconsider his order. He replied, that he should send a surgeon with the ambulances, and if in his judgment they could be removed, it should be done without hesitation, as he was determined to break up all the small hospitals which you have all about town, (ours is the only small hospital in town,) and that he had ordered neither rations nor medicines to be issued to them. Miss T. told him that nothing of the sort was necessary; she had never asked nor received rations from the Federal government; that she had now but five men under her care, and they were desperately wounded, and she would greatly prefer that the hospital should be considered in the light of a private establishment, which we could take care of without asking help. A change came over his countenance, but not his manner; he brusquely told us that he would ‘see about it.” In an hour afterwards the surgeon and the ambulance came, but after what seemed to me rather a pompous display of surgical examination and learned medical terms, addressed to the lady-nurses, he determined to leave our dear mangled soldiers to our care. One of them is in a dying condition; he cannot survive many hours....Mr. ----[McGuire] went to the hospital by the request of Col. Richardson, and had prayers in his room. Ambulances are constantly passing with horses in the finest possible condition - even finer than ours were in the beginning of the war.
Excerpt From: Diary of a Southern Refugee, by Judith W. McGuire, 1867
The scenario starred Rosemary Thoburn potraying Captain Sally Tompkins, Marilyn Iglesias portraying Judith McGuire the nurse whose dairy was the basis for the sketch, Beverly Pelcher portraying a volunteer nurse, Mr Tim Ake as the Federal Chief Medical Director, and Robert Wolfhope as adjutant.
This was not the typical medical after battle demonstration of how wounded were cared for, but a true staged theatrical sketch depicting the chaos and confusion of a city hospital during the darkest hour in Richmond's history. Wounded soldiers unable to walk, a surgeon with no chloroform, nurses with no supplies, and a Federal officer ordering the hospitals closure without regards to the wounded’s’ condition. The Medical Director understood the value of a life even if they were on the "wrong" side. The scene showed the human struggles of both sides. There was Captain Sally's duty to save the lives of Confederate wounded and the Union Medical Director's duty to follow orders from Washington City. Ultimately, there is a compromise in which Sally's hospital recognizes Union control of the city while also being allowed to finish treating the last of its patients.
Miss Thoburn is a member of Lee’s Lieutentants and portrays Captain Sally Tompkins.
Mr Ake is a member of Federal General’s Corp and usually portrays General Daniel Sickles. He volunteered to portray the Federal Chief Medical Director. The diary never mentioned the medical director’s name.
Lee’s Lieutentants and their counterpart the Federal General’s Corp are dedicated to educate the general public about the Civil War period of American History. They accomplish this through "first person" impressions of General Officers, Officers, Enlisted Men, Politicians, and Civilians.
Both groups are non-political, family oriented organizations. Their goal is to get back to the basics of the reenactment hobby, educate the public, and have fun. They are available to discuss the Civil War, battles, and those that served during America's greatest conflict.